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The “Return” of America: Biden’s Maiden Foreign Policy Speech

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The “Return” of America: Biden’s Maiden Foreign Policy Speech

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Submitted by Dr. Binoy Kampmark

Few could have been slack-jawed at the first significant foreign policy speech of US President Joe Biden.  It can easily be filed under the “America is back” label.  Back as well, as if the previous administration had been incapable of it, was a promise for that practice unflatteringly called jaw-jaw.  “Diplomacy,” the President states from the outset, “is back at the centre of our foreign policy.”

Doing so naturally meant much cap doffing to the US State Department, that long time enunciator of Washington’s imperial policies.  President Donald Trump had held a rather different view of the department he generally saw as fustian and obstructive.  Biden tried reassuring department staff that he valued their expertise, respected them and would have their back.  “This administration is going to empower you to do your jobs, not target or politicize you.”

The effort of the new administration, outlined Biden, will focus on repairing and restoring.  Paint and scaffolding will be provided.  Alliances will be revisited, the world engaged with.  He strikes a collaborative note: cooperation with other states will be needed to fight the pandemic, climate change and nuclear proliferation.

The speech has the usual sprinklings of concern and fear that other powers are posing challenges to US power, but is odd in not mentioning such states as Iran, at least explicitly, or North Korea.  “American leadership,” he urges, “must meet this new moment of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disrupt our democracy.”  Beijing remained “our most serious competitor” and needed to be pushed back “on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance.”  He asserts that the US will not roll over “in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions” and will be more “effective in dealing” with Moscow “in coalition and coordination with other like-minded partners.”

This leaves the impression that the Trump administration was in the business of playing amiable golf with the Putin regime, a point that Democrats in Congress were always keen to push.  But whatever Trump’s strong man admiration might have been for President Vladimir Putin, the US record during his time in office was far from accommodating.  An overview of the various retaliatory sanctions is provided by the Brookings Institute.  They are many and include, among others, the imposition of sanctions in response to Russia’s alleged use of a nerve agent in the British town of Salisbury in 2018; the sanctioning of Russian and a Chechen group for human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings and torture; and sanctions for alleged Russian electoral interference in 2018.

The speech also pays a mandatory pound of cant masquerading as homage to the misunderstood idea of democracy.  He spoke of defending “America’s most cherished democratic values: defending freedom, championing opportunity, upholding universal human rights, respecting the rule of law, and treating every person with dignity.”

Democracy is always a conceptual problem for presidents, largely because the US executive and the country’s political system is a creation of a distinctly non-democratic mindset.  The framers of the US Constitution pooh-poohed democracy and purposely crafted a document and political system that would protect property, stifle the emancipation of slaves, and neutralise factionalism.

Historians such as Charles Beard developed these ideas in An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution (1913), noting how that celebrated document was ratified by fewer than one-sixth of adult males and excluding the un-propertied franchise.  “The Constitution was not created by the ‘whole people’, as the jurists said … but was the work of a consolidated group whose interests knew no state boundaries and were truly national in scope.”  Drafters of the Constitution “with a few exceptions, immediately, directly and personally interested in, and derived economic advantages from, the establishment of a new system.”  Things were off to a cracking start.

A recent smattering of critique of that problematic notion that is American democracy can also be found, if one cares to look.  Political scientist Yascha Mounk, looking at the foiled efforts of residents in Oxford, Massachusetts to secure the local water supply by buying out the company in question, Aquarion, furnishes us a gloomy example.  Despite securing enough funding to achieve their goal, the lobbyists and a generous effort at sabotage ensured that the water company would remain the supplier.  “The preferences of the average American appear,” rues Mounk, “to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

The Trump era, while channelling the concerns of the powerless, left it at that.  Elites were still in rampant play, if only those elites preferred by the president.  The US republic moved ever more deeply into a terrain crawling with billionaires and lobbyists.  It was left for those against Trump and the Democrats to simply identify how best to retake old, unequitable terrain with their substitutes.  The participating voter could well sod off.

Problematically, we return to democracy as an exportable commodity, an effort that has been, for the most part, a disastrous platform of US foreign policy.  Previous sages warned that democracy grown in indigenous climes, like certain wines, travel poorly.  Not acknowledging this fact has led to quagmires, the destruction of states and the crippling of regional and in some cases global security.

Despite the US being sketchy about democratic ideals (he does allude to the Capitol riots), Biden is optimistic that “the American people are going to emerge from this moment stronger, more determined, and better equipped to unite the world in fighting to defend democracy, because we have fought for it ourselves.”  He also announced “additional steps to course-correct our foreign policy and better unite democratic values with our diplomatic leadership.”  A Global Posture Review of US forces would be conducted, which could only mean one thing: butting the brake on withdrawing US troops and reversing Trump’s policy in various theatres.

He suggests an example of democracy promotion in action: marshalling cooperative support to address the military coup in Burma; reaching out to the Republicans to test the waters (Senator Mitch McConnell also “shared concerns about the situation in Burma”).  Force, he proclaimed “should never seek to overrule the will of the people or attempt to erase the outcome of a credible election.”  The ghosts of Chile’s Salvador Allende and Iran’s Mohammad Mosaddegh, along with many other casualties of US efforts to overrule the will of the people, would beg to differ.

A more positive note is made on the issue of US support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, where an effort will be made to support UN-led initiatives “to impose a ceasefire, open humanitarian channels, and restore long-dormant peace talks.”  US support for offensive operations in the war, including arms sales, will also cease.

What we can expect for a good deal of the Biden administration will be the resuscitation of the hackneyed and weary.  Even such an ordinary speech had Fred Kaplan claiming that Biden’s cliché’s, after Trump, sounded “revolutionary”.  Trump’s four years had been characterised by “diplomatic decline and atrophy”; Biden’s views, in light of that, “seemed fresh, even bracing.”  But Kaplan is not immune to the substance here.  Talk about stiffening democracy’s sinews, shoring up alliances when allies are doing their own deals with opponents, can come across as rather weak.  The pudding, and the proof that will come with it, is still being made.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: bkampmark@gmail.com

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Condor

Biden is a totally corrupted tool of the deep state for over 42 years and is now a mere demented senile servile puppet of the Zionists who yank his chains. He has supported every war and genocide and things can only get worse for the US as Biden and his mostly Jew cabinet members are true warmongers. US Secretaryof State Antony Blinken, a lifelong Zionist had criticism Obama for not following up on the latter’s promise to attack Syria. At the time, Blinken had said,“Superpowers don’t bluff. US is now once again building up forces in the region for a prolonged conflict that suits the deep state and Israel’s agenda.

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klove and light

spot on!

Pensamentos Nómadas

exactly.

christianblood

Biden’s capinet:
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AM Hants

Not forgetting, prioritising those mixed, children bathrooms and getting his transgender buddies, in the girls sports teams.

Nice one with the image of his cabinet. Surprised he never made Hunter his Secretary of State, as he seems to do well cutting deals with so many nations.

AM Hants

How much has Biden and family made, since he entered politics, back in 1973 and never said no to a single war the US has or has not voted for?

US World Domination Tour – Bombing a City Near Youcomment image

klove and light

“A more positive note is made on the issue of US support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, where an effort will be made to support UN-led initiatives “to impose a ceasefire, open humanitarian channels, and restore long-dormant peace talks.” US support for offensive operations in the war, including arms sales, will also cease.”

one of the most stupidiest sentences ever on southfront!!! absolutely mind boggling……..fake news par execellence………..realtity denier#2.0

the same bullshit when it conmes to the decades long “two-state solution” for palestine/isreal……utter nonsense utter bs utter fake news reality denier #2.0

John Brown

Yes this website appears to be in decline now.

“A more positive note is made on the issue of US support for the
Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, where an effort will be made to
support UN-led initiatives “to impose a ceasefire, open humanitarian
channels, and restore long-dormant peace talks.” US support for
offensive operations in the war, including arms sales, will also cease.”

South Front takes the word of a genocidal, psychopathic pedo, serial liar?? Mr. master of massive voting election fraud, he even confessed to on video before the election, along with other sources of confessions of the fraud and bragging from neo liberal Zio outlets like the New York Times owned by decendants of former confederate plantation slave masters.

The empire won’t cut back on anything, not one bullet, sold to Saudi at all. Its just propaganda to make the Houthis look like the aggressors for resisting their extermination by Saudi Judea Arabia and the racist supremacist global Jewish Satanic slave empire dictatorship.

BMWA1

ZZZZZ

johnny rotten

The amerika is already dead, symbolically putting a zombie in charge of him only worsens the image, moreover an image of shit.

Hasbara Hunter

Don’t mind Wannabe ZioNazi Grandpa Joe Biden too much, he is a bit Senile, suffers from Alzheimer’s, loves to play with infants all day long & mumbles Jibberish all the time…so the ideal Ventriloquist dummy for the Deep State…

AM Hants

Never voted against a war. States he prefers kids to adults, which is obvious, when photographed around kids. Pimps his son out for trade deals and why did Biden whinge about daddy taking a cut. How long before they seek ‘Amendment 25’, put Joe in the Care Home and pop Mistress Harris in the White House. That is, if they are allowed in the White House? Why are there no lights on after 9pm and why do all the shots of Grandpa Joe, signing executive orders in the Oval Office, feature a car park behind him? Never seen the car park in other images, from the Oval Office, or is it a new instalment? What exactly is going on over there?

Hasbara Hunter

I agree strange things goin’ on in the Divided States of Murica…I do hope Good Americans took control over USraHell…if not, better avoid & boycot that Rat-infested sh*thole…

Voldemort

Nothing will change. Presidents don’t decide on foreign policy, the system does. The system never changes. Presidents are just escape goats

RichardD

This video can be watched by clicking on the link below the screenshot.

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https://www.trunews.com/stream/doubled-down-lin-wood-s-salacious-allegations-against-chief-justice-roberts

AM Hants

I was flicking through the TV channels last night, trying to find something decent to watch, without success and low and behold, BBC 2 were airing a documentary and the irony of the title made me choke on my coffee, whilst spurting it out.

It was a documentary on Trump, but, somewhere in the title, was saying how Donald Trump almost took us to war with Iran. Well, considering that Trump was the first US President in decades, not to start a war, I found it ironic. Whilst admitting that tensions were high between the US and Iran. Now, since Donald Trump has been out of office, for the past couple of weeks and Biden is in charge, what is the first thing on the agenda?

Trump tried to take the troops out of Syria, who had not legal right to be there. Biden, increased supply.
Trump was taking the troops out of Afghanistan, who had been there since 2001. Biden reversed the decision, business as usual and the poppy fields continue to prosper.
Tension with Iran – Biden cannot wait for things to get back to normal in the Middle East as memories of Madelaine Albright, bragging about the ‘deaths of 500,000 Iraq babies and children, being well worth the price;. Wasn’t Albright a Dem and served under Clinton?

cechas vodobenikov

co-emperor gates-bozos provide special alert system to new dementia occupant WH basement… installed
happy hair sniffer more reliable than previously installed grade B Hollywood actor

thomas malthaus

https://www.rt.com/russia/515924-ukraine-dam-crimea-water/

There’s little doubt that Ukraine is a US satrapy.
The Russians may be considering disallowing Ukrainian emigres.

Only accept their best, if at all.

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